A few weeks ago, I found myself in a bit of a dilemma. It wasn't a major life decision, but it was one of those decisions that plagued me. I wanted to make a trip to Oklahoma City to see my grandparents, who are in their 80's. I also wanted to go toTennessee to visit a friend. I decided that since my father also wanted to make the trip to Oklahoma City, we would drive one way there. I would either fly from Nashville to Oklahoma City or vise versa on a one-way ticket and would use another one-way ticket to get between Indianapolis and Nashville. That was the easy part.
The hard part was deciding when to travel. I had three options. Dad had a holiday on May 4, and thought we might be able to travel down to Oklahoma City over the weekend prior if he took May 3 as a personal day off work. Our other options revolved aroune theMemorial Day weekend. I could either spend the week before or the week after Memorial Day in Oklahoma City and could plan my trip to Tennessee accordingly.
I thought hard about this decision. I was very anxious to make my trip, but something about the May 4 weekend just did not feel right. School would be starting at Anderson University on May 10. Although I was taking courses that did not require me to attend class physically, I wondered if I might need to be available to meet with professors about course requirements since this was the beginning of the term. Finally, Dad and I decided to travel to Oklahoma City on Memorial Day weekend.
I thought nothing of this until I sat down to watch CNN this afternoon. During the evening of May 3 and this morning, tornadoes have been ripping through Oklahoma and Kansas, the worst being right in Oklahoma City. My family, of course, was very concerned about the safety of Dad's parents. Fortunately, they and other members of the extended family who are living in the area are safe and well. But only while watching the weather reports did the impact of this hit me. Dad's course home would have taken him traveling through the path of these storms.
A couple of weeks ago, I had a horrific nightmare about losing my dad very suddenly. Not only was the loss sudden, but the details of the cause of death were kept from me intentionally, and I was laughed at by police and medical professionals for becoming upset by this. I awoke from this dream with big tears running down my face and spent most of the day praying and trying to understand why the dream had upset me so much. All I could figure was that I have an intense fear of losing my father and of having a lack of closure with the loss. Of course, I do not know what could have or would have happened if Dad and I had made the trip at this particular time, but I am struck by the thought that God knows our fears and deepest needs. He knows the patterns of the weather. He can most certainly say to the wind, "Be still," and it will obey. Why He did not do this last night I will never know. But more important than what He can do with the wind and the waves, He can say to the human spirit, "This is how I am leading you." He can call us to get up and go to a land that He will show us, as He did Abraham. He can call us to get up and move away from what He intends to destroy, as He did Lot. He can keep us safe from what would normally destroy us, as He did Daniel. He can come and meet us in the midst of our daily life, in which we have been walking with Him, as He did Enoch. When He calls to us and we hear His voice, we have a choice about whether or not to obey. I like to think that though I didn't realize it at the time, He was leading me and my dad. We followed and now are able to understand why He led as He did.
I don't know why bad things happen. I cannot think for a minute that God is to blame for tragedies or that He overlooks His people in the time of trouble. But He is teaching me not to fear times of trouble; for to live is Christ and to die is gain. But for every blessing I must praise Him, and for the blessing of being with my dad on this day I do praise Him.
I feel so very fortunate! There are parts of me that have been questioning whether God cares about the details of my personal life here on earth. I think they may find it awfully hard to question now. I know that He doesn't always give us what we want, but I also know that He hears every cry and knows how much I need my parents right now and how much I need to see His hand working in my life. I'm thankful that He doesn't mind giving me glimpses of what He's doing so that I can learn to trust Him as I once did.